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2.4 Illustrating the Flag Ball (Part 1)

For our flag ball photo illustration to work properly, we need to prepare the soccer ball photos to work with the technique. So let’s dig into ways to remove the printed pattern and clean up the seams.

2.4 Illustrating the Flag Ball (Part 1)

Welcome back to Event Flyer Design. My name is Kirk Nelson. We are working our way through this chapter two on the sports flyer. We find ourselves now on lesson number six, where we begin the photo illustration of the flag ball. If you remember in our sketching and brainstorming stage we discussed having the soccer ball look like it was comprised of several of the countries flags. The idea was to take each one of these hexes or five-sided pents and put a country's flag inside there. So the ball would look like it's stitched together of different flags participating in the tournament. Now in order to do that we need to remove any of the markings that's already present on the ball. We also need to desaturate it entirely. So in going through the photos that we took of just the ball, sort of the hero shots, I decided on this one. Number zero five eight eight. I thought this had decent lighting on it, and I thought that the seams were clear enough that I could easily pull those out and use them to replace the seams that have the pattern on it. Because we need to eliminate that pattern entirely. So, let's edit this in Camera Raw first. The first thing I'm going to do is to pull down the saturation entirely cuz I want the ball to have a base white, well really light gray, appearance. That's what's going to work the best when it comes to overlaying all those flag graphics. I wanna have some good contrast in there, so I'm going to increase the contrast a little bit. The clarity will help sharpen things up. And I've adjusted a few of these other sliders as well, just to get a good balance of mid-tone grays, a little bit of highlight in there, and the shadows, I don't want very dark. I want some brighter shadows that are still present, but they're simply brightened up a little bit. Once the file is open in PhotoShop we can begin evaluating exactly how we want to try to remove the patterns that are on here. My first instinct is to make a copy of the background layer to work with, and then we need to isolate it from the background. So lets use the quick selection tool. Just make a very easy selection all the way around the ball. Unselect, or deselect, the bottom area there, we don't need those. Not gonna worry too much about these blades of grass. We'll do a quick refine just to smooth that out a little bit. And a touch of feathering. And then let's use that as a layer mask by clicking the add layer mask button over here. Now, it's on this layer that we will start our operations for removing those scenes. There's several different techniques in tools that we're going to use to get a successful clean of these seamed and patterned areas. The first that I always try to work with is the patch tool, because it works really well, especially with the content aware technology embedded into it. So I just made a rough selection completely around the pattern that's inside this patch here. I go to the patch tool. I'm going to have this set to content aware. Adaptation, I'm gonna keep on strict. And the idea here is you just grab that patch and just move it into a blank area. So it samples the blank area and replaces the selection with the blankness or at least attempts to. A lot of times you'll end up with some artifacts in here from the patch tool trying to blend in with the pixels that are around it there. You could set it back to very strict before you deselect and it will actually change the interpolation for you, and then you can create more selections just to try to chase away those areas that's left. So, I'm going to use that same technique on all of the major patch areas. I'm not going to worry much about the seams right now. Right now, I'm worried mostly just about the patterns that are inside of those. So, here's where I ended up after extensive use of that patch tool. It's time to start working on removing the print pattern from the seams. The insides of each of these patches look pretty good, but the seams still have plenty of print showing. So, we need to work on getting rid of those, and there's several techniques that you can use. I'm going to show you a couple of them and let you choose which ones work best or which combination of them work best for you. First of all, let's try working with the healing brush. Now, this works a lot like the clone stamp tool, in that you sample an area first, and then you use that to paint over the other areas. Now, the difference between this brush and the clone stamp tool is that it will attempt to blend the pixels together and, as opposed to simply painting over them. And a lot of times you get a much better blending to them because it doesn't quite look like it's cloned. It looks rather like it does fit naturally because the lightning tends to work a little bit better. So this is a good technique for the seams that line up really nice and has a good sample area that you can choose from. That one was a little mismatched. Let's try it like this. Another great technique is simply the cut and paste technique. So, for example, this seam here looks really like it's something difficult to take care of because there's not a lot of area that we can clone stamp from to try to use something like the healing brush tool, so instead, let's make a selection of another area. Perhaps this seam over here, layer, new layer via copy. And move that over and position it into place. Let's transform it by flipping it horizontally. And just layer it over the seam that has all that print work already on there. And then we can worry about the other areas in a little bit. And so here's where I ended up after using the cut and paste technique and the healing brush technique several times. Let's just show you where I was. You can see I just added in several of these little seam patches. And now, I'm going to select all of these and create a merged layer from them. So I'm going to hold down the alt key, while going to Layer, Merge Layers. As you can see, that's also the control or command E, so you could hold down the alt or the option key, while using that keyboard shortcut and it would accomplish the same thing. Essentially, we need a single layer here to work with. And then on this one, we can begin touching up the areas that we see the clear cutting from the cut and paste technique. And, to fix that, let's use the spot healing brush. Set to content aware, a decent size of the radius there. But, I also like to reduce the hardness on it. And you just go along the areas that need some retouching. This is good for hiding the seams from your cut and paste, not the seams of the ball. It's just a good way to help remove any type of artifacts that you accidentally introduced while you were editing the photo. And, of course, if you find that its sampling from some strange areas and introducing more artifacts, well then you would change back like to the healing brush. And making sure that that gets put in there properly. I'm also going to use the same technique for pulling out the grass blades. [BLANK_AUDIO] Something like that. Here's the result that I ended up with. So, we've gone from a brightly colored ball with a fairly distinct pattern on it, and we've turned it white and removed that print pattern completely. Now it's time to place this into our project composition. And here's the composition as we left it last session. We've got this open. We are simply going to pull that blank ball layer into here and position it directly over where that yellow ball is. Let's pull down on the sketch layer some, or so it's not quite so distracting. And we'll even pull down on the blank ball layer. So we can get it to match up mostly with that yellow ball. [SOUND]. It doesn't need to be completely perfect. But in there enough that it's not going to be distractingly different in position and proportion. I'll return that to full opacity. And start working with some of the other layers. For example, I really like this field look. And I like it in the back there. I kind of prefer the way the front of the grass looks in this field image. But I like that back one. So, let's add a layer mask to that secondary field image and just start working that in by using a gradient. I've got the gradient set to black to transparent. And it's on the linear mode, I'm just going from somewhere near the bottom, dragging it upwards to help blend some of this in. And I notice there's a slight color difference between the two. So, I'm gonna grab this bottom photo layer here, this BallStart layer. And I'm gonna add a curves adjustment layer to it. And brighten up some of that. While creating the gentle S. It's going to help match these things up. The guides are starting to get in my way here. So I'm gonna reduce the opacity of them, just so I can barely see them. And in this case, I'm going to completely hide the sketch layer. Because I'm noticing this fade from one field to the other. It really kinda looks like a cheated fade. It doesn't really line up very well. But that's an easy enough fix. I could grab that top layer and I can start trying to line it up a little better. Something around there probably looks good. But really, the fading of the mask is what's making it look a little bit weird in here. So, with the mask layer targeted, let's grab a brush. Just the regular brush tool. Now, I've got it set to one of these bristle-brushes here. I'm just going to begin using a very light mode, disturbing the very gentle gradient of that mask with both white and black, just so that it looks like there's actual blades of grass that's interlocking between these two. And it just takes a couple of brush strokes working in there just to disrupt that gradient so it's not quite as distracting. Now remember, people aren't really gonna be looking at this very closely. The idea is that they're looking more closely at the text that we put in here, and also the soccer ball that we're gonna be working with. So this doesn't need to be perfect. But it just needs to look good enough that it doesn't distract people when they see it, and they don't think it looks odd. About like that looks pretty good. So next, we need to deal with the fact that the ball doesn't look like it's sitting in the grass. It looks more like it's sitting well, as a layer on top of the grass layer. So let's hide it for a moment, and take a look at the photo of the ball that's all ready in the grass. Now the reason it looks like it's in there, is because there's some grass in front of it here, between us and the ball. So, let's select those areas, just really quickly, using a polygonal selection tool. It's just kind of a rough selection around those grassy areas. Then we'll select the blank ball layer again. And add the layer mask. And so, here's the basic composition that I ended up with. Couple quick things I want to do, just to help blend this ball in a little bit more, on the blank ball layer, I'm going to add a slight inner glow. Set to grey, just to help take off some of that outside shading that we were getting on there. Makes it looks a little more realistic. And then I want to work on adding some shadow areas behind these blades of grass. And here's a great little tip for doing that. First, create a new layer just for the grass shadow areas. I'm going to control click on the mask of that ball just to create a selection in that shape while I'm on there. Now, I only want the selection to include these pieces of grass here. So I'm going to use my polygonal marquee tool and set it to intersect with selection and just grab roughly the area around them. Now, with the grass shadow, I'm going to set my paint color to a darker gray. And fill it by holding down the Alt and tapping backspace. That's option-backspace. Deselect. Hit this to multiply. Blur it a little bit, using blur. Not every much, about six pixels or so. My move tool, nudge it over a little bit, and then clip it to the ball. That way we don't get this outside shading. And look at that, very easy, cast shadows from those grass blades. [BLANK_AUDIO] Alright guys, that's it for lesson number six. That is the first portion of the photo illustration of that flag ball. Next lesson, we'll finish that up and so, take a look at how to put the country's flags on each of those individual patches.

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